By Dr. Phillip Goglia
What we eat can determine how we feel but how we feel can also determine what we eat.
Food and the chemicals in our brains interact to keep us going throughout the day. It is important to eat a variety of healthy foods, as they have different effects on our brains. For example, carbohydrates increase serotonin, a brain chemical that has a calming effect.
Perhaps that’s why people often crave carbohydrate-rich foods when they are under stress. Protein-rich foods increase tyrosine, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which help to increase alertness.
In addition, certain healthy fats (omega-3 fatty acids) become part of the membranes of brain cells and control many brain processes.
Poor nutrition or lack of a variety of healthy foods can contribute to depression by limiting the availability of these specific nutrients.